Independent review recommends re-run of Monklands replacement site process
The process for selecting a site for the replacement on Monklands Hospital should be re-run, the Scottish Government has recommended.
An Independent Review into NHS Lanarkshire’s plans to build a new hospital at Gartcosh has concluded that while the health body used the correct guidance in its decision, and that overall the process had been effectively followed, the procedure should take place again.
The review panel recommended the creation of a citizens’ jury to ensure that NHS Lanarkshire takes account of the views of the public in its decision making process.
It further recommends that the re-run process should be overseen by independent advisers – ensuring an independent and transparent process.
The two top scoring options for the location of the new hospital – Gartcosh and Glenmavis – should also be re-evaluated and a clear vision should be developed for the existing site that takes into account the views of the local community.
Responding to the report, health secretary Jeane Freeman also instructed NHS Lanarkshire to discount rebuilding on the existing Monklands site due to concerns over cost, timescales and patient safety. This will ensure the development will deliver a new state of the art hospital for the Monklands catchment area.
Ms Freeman said: “I have accepted the recommendations on adding independent members to the project board and developing a vision for the existing site. On the process for selecting the site, I have asked NHS Lanarkshire to broaden out the process and to work closely with the local planning authority to ensure they can support and contribute to a more constructive, inclusive and open review of the options with meaningful public engagement.
“We’re committed to delivering a new hospital for everyone living in the Monklands catchment area. The new Monklands hospital will retain an A&E department along with associated specialist services. This will mean that if there are any viable sites in the Monklands area, beyond Gartcosh and Glenmavis, they will be considered, and it will ensure that the most appropriate site is identified through an appraisal process that is supported by the local community.
“I have also asked that the option of building on the existing site at Monklands be excluded from the re-evaluation because building a new hospital on an existing site takes longer, costs more and risks infection and other patient safety concerns. It will also create performance and access issues directly affecting patients, during the long construction phase. There is therefore little point in including an option which will score poorly in the appraisal.”
SNP MSP Alex Neil and SNP MP Neil Gray, who had requested the review, have welcomed the findings and are confident its recommendations will lead to the new hospital being located in the Monklands area and not at Gartcosh.
Mr Neil said: “Since this independent review was commissioned it has become even clearer that the Gartcosh site isn’t fit for purpose.
“The blue water scandal at St Ambrose/Buchanan High School has rendered any idea of building a new state-of-art hospital on a former steelworks site as absurd and unacceptable.
“The people of Monklands would rise up in unison against Gartcosh as the site of the new hospital. I hope Lanarkshire Health Board will recognise that, for any proposal to carry the necessary level of public support and the trust of the wider community, the new hospital has to be built within the Monklands area.”
Neil Gray added: “What this review highlights most of all is the need for the people of Monklands to have a greater and more proportionate say over where they want their hospital to be. That is what we have been saying from the beginning and why we asked Jeane Freeman to consider this review.
“I hope the idea of a Citizens’ Jury can be looked at quickly and its membership drawn from the Monklands catchment. There are also a number of other areas requiring more work, including the cost benefit analysis, planning and transport issues, all of which we highlighted in our submission to NHS Lanarkshire.
“The clinicians involved have done a great job creating a clinical model that works, which gives us a good point to work from. I hope, using this review, we can all move forward quickly and work together to build the fantastic new hospital the people of Monklands need and deserve.”